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World - Europe

NATO forces find possible mass grave in Kosovo

 MILITARY PLAN:
Focus on
Kosovo
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Interactive INTERACTIVE
KFOR enters Kosovo

NATO rolls into Kosovo
 ALSO:
Bosnia inspires compromise plan for Russian troops

First relief convoy reaches Pristina

U.S. tanks rumble to Pristina

 THE DELUGE OF REFUGEES:
Number, whereabouts of Kosovo refugees
 MESSAGE BOARD:
Crisis in Kosovo
 IN-DEPTH SPECIAL:
Focus on Kosovo

German, British troops kill 2 Serbs; 2 journalists die

June 14, 1999
Web posted at: 7:39 a.m. EDT (1139 GMT)


In this story:

Four die in sporadic violence

Russians refuse to let British into airport

NATO commander says mission on schedule

Serb withdrawal met with jeers

Fire damages library at Albanian mosque

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



PRISTINA, Yugoslavia(CNN) -- The commander of British forces in Kosovo said Monday that NATO troops had discovered what they believed was a site of a mass grave.

British Maj. Gen. Richard Dannatt told reporters that U.S. soldiers were guarding the suspected site that was found Sunday in the village of Kacanik.

Meanwhile, NATO officials said alliance forces were spreading out throughout the Serb province smoothly and on schedule, but a tense impasse with Russian troops in Pristina that began Saturday remained unresolved.

Thousands of missing ethnic Albanians have turned up in Kosovo, according to U.N. officials, who urged Kosovo refugees not to return to the province until alliance troops have cleared roads of mines and booby traps.

German, British troops kill 2 Serbs; 2 journalists die

Sporadic violence continued to plague Kosovo on Monday, when an unidentified civilian Serb was wounded in a shooting. He was hospitalized in stable condition, a British military official said.

Three separate shooting incidents in Kosovo on Sunday left four people dead and two others wounded, increasing tensions as an international peacekeeping force began to take charge in the province.

In Prizren, German troops opened fire on a small yellow car carrying two Serbs through the city center. Witnesses said the car was driving toward a German armored personnel carrier -- surrounded by people celebrating the arrival of peacekeepers -- when the passenger displayed an AK-47 and opened fire.

Troops on the carrier and a German tank returned fire. The driver of the car was killed and the passenger wounded. A German soldier on the carrier was injured.

A relief worker from the international group World Vision who helped the wounded Serb said the man told him, "I am a Serb. I must die for my country."

In Dulje, south of Pristina, two German journalists were shot and killed by an unknown assailant. One was shot in the head, and the other, shot in the stomach, died later at a Canadian military hospital.

In Pristina, the provincial capital, British soldiers shot and killed a pistol-wielding reserve Serb police officer after he fired at least one round at a British patrol, said Lt. Col. Nick Clissit, a spokesman for KFOR, the international force patrolling Kosovo.

"The patrol repeatedly warned the individual to stop or they would fire," Clifford said. "The individual continued to threaten the soldiers with his weapon, and fire was returned in self-defense."

Russians refuse to let British into airport

body on the ground
British paratroopers shot and killed a Serb police reservist in Pristina Sunday  

Both the shootings and the refusal of Russian troops to admit a British contingent into Pristina's airport underscored the tense nature of KFOR's march into Kosovo.

KFOR peacekeepers in Pristina searched for an alternate base to replace one at the airport, where Russian troops turned away a British-led detachment in a move NATO's top general called "bizarre."

British, U.S., French, German and Italian troops rolled into the province Saturday to begin Operation Joint Guardian. But a column of Russian troops unexpectedly beat the NATO peacekeepers into Pristina and blocked access to most of the airport by parking an armored troop carrier across a road.

NATO and Russian officials were holding talks in Moscow, Macedonia and Kosovo in an effort to resolve the impasse and determine the role of Russian troops within KFOR.

NATO commander says mission on schedule

Gen. Wesley Clark, NATO's supreme commander, said the NATO- led KFOR peacekeeping mission was proceeding into the Yugoslav province on schedule. Clark said NATO could have as many as 10,000 KFOR troops in Kosovo by Sunday evening.

"No plans have been disrupted whatsoever by this bizarre event," Clark said during a visit to Skopje, Macedonia, where allied troops have massed to move into Yugoslavia.

Brig. Robert Baxter, the commander of the NATO detachment at the airfield, described his talks with Russian officers as "friendly." But they firmly refused to allow his troops into the airport.

"They just told me we had no permission to go from his commanders," Baxter said. "I then asked him if he could speak to his commanders, and there were lots of shrugging of shoulders."

The peacekeeping mission is one of the largest military undertakings in Europe since World War II. KFOR is preparing for the return of hundreds of thousands of Kosovar refugees displaced during the 11-week Yugoslav conflict and the year of ethnic strife that preceded it.

Clark downplayed the military significance of the situation at the airport, since that was never going to be the main headquarters for KFOR, he said. He emphasized that diplomats -- not soldiers -- would find a solution.

"This is essentially a political problem, and it has to be dealt with in a political manner," he said.

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Serb withdrawal met with jeers

Outside Pristina, the roads were full of military vehicles -- either Yugoslav troops on the way out or KFOR units on the way in. About a quarter of the Yugoslav army and special police units in Kosovo have left, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Sunday.

Under the terms of the cease-fire agreement that ended NATO's 79-day air war against Yugoslavia, the Serb-led military and special police have until June 21 to leave Kosovo. Once their pullout is complete, a small contingent will be allowed to return to guard Serb historic sites.

As the Yugoslav troops withdrew, many of Kosovo's Serbs went with them. In some parts of Pristina, they were taunted by ethnic Albanians who have spent much of the past three months hiding in their homes.

Running a gauntlet of jeers and stones, a group of Serbs made its way out of the city through an ethnic Albanian neighborhood. Some were leaving forever; others planned to watch developments and return sometime in the future.

Just days earlier, no one here would have dared to hurl even harsh language at Serb soldiers. But the presence of NATO troops has turned the tables.

Fire damages library at Albanian mosque

Many Albanians chanted "NATO, NATO" and "UCK, UCK" -- the Albanian acronym for the Kosovo Liberation Army, the ethnic Albanian rebel group that fought the Serbs for a year.

But a fire damaged the library of Pristina's main mosque, and military officials suspect arson -- perhaps the work of Serb extremists striking a final blow before fleeing the city.

Throughout the Yugoslav conflict, NATO accused Serb authorities in Kosovo of committing abuses and atrocities against the province's majority-Albanian population. Among those complaints were refugees' reports that Yugoslav troops and border guards stripped them of their identity papers as they fled the country.

British troops around Pristina found evidence to back up those claims Sunday -- bags full of identity papers taken from evicted Kosovars during the war.

"The kind of things we found were many, many individual identity cards like that, possibly a couple of thousand," one of the soldiers said. "This is in two hours' searching."

He said the documents would be passed along to British officials and probably to the United Nations.

Correspondents Mike Boettcher, Tom Mintier and Jim Clancy contributed to this report.


RELATED STORIES:
Shootings raise tensions in Kosovo
June 13, 1999
NATO peacekeeping commander arrives in Pristina
June 12, 1999
Russians await orders in Kosovo as generals meet with NATO
June 12, 1999
Some Kosovo refugees return while others continue to flee
June 12, 1999
U.S. puts positive spin on Russian troops in Kosovo
June 12, 1999
FBI to send forensic team to Kosovo
June 12, 1999
Russian troops enter Kosovo; Moscow orders them to leave
June 11, 1999
Russia says relations with NATO 'frozen'
June 11, 1999

RELATED SITES:
Yugoslavia:
  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
      • Kesovo and Metohija facts
  • Serbia Ministry of Information
  • Serbia Now! News

Kosovo:
  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosova Liberation Peace Movement
  • Kosovo - from Albanian.com

Military:
  • NATO official site
  • BosniaLINK - U.S. Dept. of Defense
  • U.S. Navy images from Operation Allied Force
  • U.K. Ministry of Defence - Kosovo news
  • U.K. Royal Air Force - Kosovo news
  • Jane's Defence - Kosovo Crisis


Resettlement Agencies Helping Kosovars in U.S.:
  • Church World Service
  • Episcopal Migration Ministries
  • Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
  • Iowa Department of Human Services
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Immigration and Refugee Services of America
  • Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
  • United States Catholic Conference

Relief:
  • World Relief
  • Doctors without borders
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (Kosovo aid)
  • Doctors of the World
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Kosovo Humanitarian Disaster Forces Hundreds of Thousands from their Homes
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page
  • The Jewish Agency for Israel
  • Mercy International
  • UNHCR


Media:
  • Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

Other:
  • Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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